The Home Office launched a Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Consultation which sought insights on a range of experiences of violence among women and girls and men and boys. Through a public survey, focus groups and written evidence from experts, information about the scope and prevalence of harms as well as prevention and information on perpetrators were elicited, with the intent to inform the 2020-2024 VAWG strategy to tackle issues of gender-based violence in our communities.
From our point of view, sex workers are rarely included in developing policies and setting the agenda for ending VAWG, particularly as it pertains to their diverse working conditions and priorities around safety. Frankly, sex workers and the organisations they trust are often subject to exclusionary politics and practices that block us from contributing details and nuance to prevent the (unintended) harms of policies developed without this population. This is due in part to divisive debates in feminism about whether individuals should be allowed to sex sell; how to treat buyers of sexual services; how systems of power and domination shape (women’s) choices; how society ought to treat sex workers; how sex work relates to poverty, addictions and (mental) health; and if sex workers have, or should have, entitlements to labour rights, justice, and access to services and protection.